Today we kick off a new series at my church called “Healthy Relationships” and it has me thinking (shocking I know!).
We are relational beings. We need people. We need community.
Since God created Adam in the Garden, He established a want for relationship-with Him and with one another. How we do those relationships looks so vastly different across the globe, and even within our own home.
My relationship to my family is different than yours, just as your friendships look alot different than mine. For me, I have a wide group of friendships but only a handful of people I keep really close to me for what I affectionately call “real talk.” We keep each other accountable, we encourage, we vent, and we do life together and not all of them are friends with each other.
A growing weariness has spawned in me over relationships over the last several years. Most of it having to do with social media. This weariness comes from being a deep level friend to alot more people felt like it was required. To keep up with everyone I had to constantly be scanning my feeds, liking posts and looking at a thousand pictures of new babies or spouses.
What I have found though is that social media is good at connecting, but not good at sustaining. It’s a convenience to know that friends I made while building houses together in high school from other states are now pursuing adoption (yay for the Bells!) and gives me an avenue to extend encouragement and prayer. But it is no substitute for time spent in relationships in real time, connecting over dinner or on a couch as a friend struggles through a season of singleness.
What social media isn’t good at is sustaining healthy relationships, engaging in actual life with one another, as you don’t see many posting about their marital issues or work-related struggles. We get funny quips about the toddler not sleeping through the night, but we don’t get the parents struggling to parent or battling the day-in day-out pressures of raising a kid in this century.
Healthy relationships don’t have to be perfect, nor do they need to be glossed up for show. But I do believe the first step to a healthy relationship with your family, your friends, your boss or coworkers, your neighbors starts by being present in their lives, engaging beyond a “thumbs up” on a status or a Snapchat message.
Take a step away from the computer, phone, tablet and engage in a relationship today and this week. Ask someone to coffee or dinner. Grab lunch with a coworker. Seek out relationships you want to be a part of this week that are truly in real life and in need of your time. Community is vital for our lives, mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. We aren’t meant to do it alone, much less from behind a screen.